Selfless campaign group from Hayling Island sets off on four-day mission to help Ukrainian refugees

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A COMMUNITY effort on Hayling Island to provide supplies to the people of Ukraine has set off on a four-day journey to Poland this week.

Hayling Helps Ukraine, a campaign set up by islanders Paul Gray and Iona Harkness, at Hayling Island Community Centre, embarked on its mission on April 20.

The campaign has sourced a wide array of goods from the local community and seen ‘amazing’ cash donations to the Havant charity, Stella’s Voice, which funds humanitarian efforts.

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Nick May, of Nick’s Travel, is donating his van and time to travel to the country on the border of Ukraine and deliver vital supplies.

Paul Gray from Hayling Helps UkrainePaul Gray from Hayling Helps Ukraine
Paul Gray from Hayling Helps Ukraine
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60-year-old Nick, who was married just last week, is leaving his wife behind to travel to Poland for four days in aid of the campaign.

He said: ‘I’m just providing the wheels, if I was 20 years younger I’d be going over there and trying to do even more.’

‘These people just need help, from day one I said I wanted to do it. When this window of opportunity came up I grabbed it with two hands.’

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Nick May and Iona from the community centre
Credit: Paul GrayNick May and Iona from the community centre
Credit: Paul Gray
Nick May and Iona from the community centre Credit: Paul Gray

The retired police officer praised the community for their generosity, donating essential baby items, bedding, blankets, food, clothing and much more.

‘Everyone’s been very generous with donations of both physical goods and cash, we’ve got the whole trip covered now just from the people of Hayling.’

‘It’s absolutely amazing.’

Local businesses on the island have also provided what they can to the cause, including donations from Funland Amusement Park, I.J Murray Associates, Hayling Garage providing a full service free of charge and even the AA have provided Nick with European cover on his van.

Nick plans to be back by Sunday, just in time for his honeymoon to Greece with his new bride.

‘By then I’ll probably need it. I imagine it’s going to be quite tiring, hopefully not too stressful,’ he said.

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